Friday, April 15, 2005

Rats! I Wanted To Go To Heaven Too!!

Larry King Live on CNN last night was titled, “What Happens After We Die?” One of my wife’s and my favorite spiritual spokespeople, Marianne Williamson, was scheduled, so we were sure to watch the show. While of course there was no answer to the show’s question of what happens after we die, I did learn something new, and offensively unfriendly, about evangelical Christians.

As King introduced his panel, they included,

“John MacArthur, evangelical Christian pastor of Grace Community Church in Southern California, best-selling author and host of the Global Medium Ministry Grace to You. Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of the international program "The Word in the World." Representing Judaism, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Muslim scholar Dr. Maher Hathout, a retired physician and senior adviser to the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Marianne Williamson, best-selling author and lecturer on spirituality. And Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists.”

What was offensive, was that it seems that John MacArthur and his ilk believe that if a human being on earth does not believe that Jesus Christ is his or her God and savior, then when that person dies he or she won’t go to heaven:

MACARTHUR: Depending upon your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is according to the Bible the only way to enter heaven.

KING: So therefore a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist will not go to heaven?

MACARTHUR: Christian theology and
the scripture says that only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Even the Catholic priest took issue with this:

“…I think there is an important thing as a Christian for me to understand, in my understanding of Jesus, that although I believe Jesus is the son of god and he is the source of salvation of all, I believe that he can be able to be expressed in ways far beyond what I can understand. And so for me to condemn a person who loves the father -- a Jew or a Muslim that loves the father…” “…One of the most important things about religion is an encounter with God. It has to be a personal relationship with God. If I'm Muslim, if I'm Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, I encounter the Lord and this is real.”
Ultimately, it took Marianne Williamson to straighten the argument out:

“I believe that we're all the sons of God. And I believe Jesus was and is a fully actualized -- he was a fully actualized human being who now has the function of helping others, who choose -- who feel he is their way, to help them rise as well. But I was so glad to hear the father say that he had acknowledged as a Christian that there are those who experience that vortex as it were without the name Jesus on it. And I find it very unfortunate, and a slight offense, this notion that if someone does not proclaim the name Jesus, you're talking about Jews, you're talking about atheists, you're talking about agnostics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, who somehow, even if they aren't babies, if they do not proclaim the name Jesus, to me that is an incorrect understanding of Jesus himself.”
So while we liberals are watching our political backside in the era of George W and company, let’s also be quite clear on what are the beliefs of Bush’s Christian base by which he is very influenced.

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